Fr Dominic Howarth
Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Formation
Gabriella Fusi
Pilgrimages and Events Co-Ordinator
Joe Beattie
Retreats, Hospitality and Facilities Co-ordinator, Walsingham House

“Welcome to the House. This is my third year as the Retreats, Facilities and Hospitality Co-ordinator, and it is a truly wonderful job.

I’m originally from the Parish of Our Lady and All Saints Basildon, and I was 15 when I first came to Walsingham House on Canvey as part of a Confirmation retreat with the parish.  I was really inspired, and I spent a volunteer gap year on the 2013-14 Team. I then completed a law degree at Nottingham University and before moving to Abbotswick I spent a year working for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

The time of the Covid-19 Pandemic is tricky for us all, but (as I write this in September 2020) we are looking forward to working with young people in their schools during this term, and then hope to be welcoming school and parish groups back to Walsingham House very soon. During Lockdown we worked alongside Basildon Council so that the House could serve a temporary women’s refuge for those fleeing domestic violence. We also live streamed daily Mass from our chapel for several months as well as hosting our first every ‘fully virtual’ Lourdes pilgrimage, “Lourdes in your Living Room.”

We also took time to develop the grounds, including planting 100 trees donated by the Woodland Trust, that will become a haven for wildlife in the years ahead.

Over the past several months, I have really developed my love of gardening and when not on retreat, I try to spend as much time in our beautiful grounds as I possibly can. I also really enjoy long walks in nature and cooking.”

Natalie Johnson
Administrator for Walsingham House and the BCYS
Harry Rawcliffe
Assistant Manager of Walsingham House

Hi! My name is Harry, and this is my second year as an Assistant Manager of Walsingham House. Before working here I was on the team at Castlerigg Manor, another retreat centre up in the Lake District, which I think is the most beautiful part of the world, though I am growing to love the Essex countryside.

In 2018 I graduated from the University of Oxford, where I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics. I loved University, and still meet up with my friends when I can; we did some pretty creative quizzes during lockdown! I love to travel; my favourite places are Rome, Budapest and Chicago. But I’m always happy to head back up to the Lakes, to walk up a big mountain or to sit in my favourite cafe with a coffee and whatever book I’m reading.

I’m originally from Preston, in Lancashire, so I’m the one with the northern accent at Youth Mass or on the live stream!


Georgia Sayer
Assistant Manager of Walsingham House

“Hello, I’m Georgia and I am delighted to have been appointed Assistant Manager after two years on the volunteer Team (2018-20). I am part of Holy Family Parish, Benfleet. Last year I visited El Salvador with The Romero Trust, which was an amazing experience, helping me to understand more about the country, and the life and martyrdom of St Oscar Romero.

On retreat, I most enjoy seeing young people discover fresh insights about their faith, and about who they are. When I was a teenager I experienced this for myself, and it is a great blessing to be able to offer the same opportunity for those who are teenagers now.

This year I am studying for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies with the Diocese of Brentwood. I enjoy skiing and baking; I love watching musicals, and I have collected a mug from every musical I have ever seen! I am the youth representative for the MetEast Region of HCPT-The Pilgrimage Trust, and I look forward to being able to return to Lourdes whenever that is next possible.”


Volunteer Team Member

“Hello! I’m Rachel and I am delighted to be back on the Team after a year away! My experience of the Team in 2018-19 was full of joy, and this year I will be deepening my knowledge by working towards the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies. My home parish is Our Lady of Lourdes, Leigh on Sea. I come from an American-Polish family, and have five brothers, so I am used to living with lots of people, and I always enjoy meeting new people.

I love watching musicals, acting and going to the theatre, as well as spending time with friends, dancing and singing. In the future I am thinking about Primary School Teaching.”

Volunteer Team Member

“Hiya! I’m Erin and I’ve just finished my A-Levels at Brentwood Ursuline, where I studied Maths, Further Maths and Biology. My home parish is St Mary’s, Hornchurch. Next year, I’ll be studying Medicine at Newcastle University. I love keeping active by running, playing rugby and tennis and I also love both performing and listening to music; some of my favourite memories are attending gigs and festivals with my friends!

This year I am a “Step into the Gap” volunteer with CAFOD; I am fascinated by the situation in different countries in the world, and want to discover more about CAFODs work to help people in the Global South to have the same opportunities that we have, as well as discovering more about climate change and caring for the planet – God’s creation. I am looking forward to a wonderful year!”

Volunteer Team Member

“Hello! My name is Felishia (also known as Flik!) and I studied A-levels in Maths, Economics and Music at the Brentwood Ursuline Convent School, where I was Head Girl. I am from the Brentwood Cathedral parish and have been in the choir since I was 7 years old – you will often hear me singing around the house, and on the BCYS Livestream Masses! I love singing, as well as cooking and running. Next year I am studying Economics at University. I really look forward to the year ahead!”

Volunteer Team Member

“Hi, my name is Lewis and I am from St. George and The English Martyrs Church in Shoeburyness. I have just finished studying A-levels in Geology, Geography and Maths at St Thomas More High School.

I really enjoy playing and watching multiple sports including Football, Cricket, Swimming and Tennis and am an avid Chelsea fan. I managed to pass my driving test first time (as opposed to many of my friends!). I have a deferred offer at Exeter University to study Geology from September 2021. I am looking forward to an amazing year at Walsingham House, growing in faith and as a person.”

Volunteer Team Member

“Hi, I’m Raph. I took my GCSEs at St Thomas More High School, and I’ve just done my A levels at Westcliff High School for Girls where I studied Biology, Chemistry and Maths. I’m going to study Medicine at the university of Sheffield next year. I am from Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Leigh-on-Sea.

I love football and tennis and – although it is a constant source of disappointment in my life – I am a big West Ham fan. I am looking forward to the year ahead, and especially to discovering more about my own faith while helping others grow in their faith.”